The Church’s One Foundation

Yes, hymn number 277.  We’ll sing just verse 1, 2 and 4, and stand on the last verse.  277.  Yes.  Two. Seventy.  Seven.  Let’s sing.

You’ve just experienced a bit of Worship Leader* banter, brought to you by years and years of, well, Worship Leader bantering. This Sunday we’re singing this hymn — “The Church’s One Foundation”. I’m studying the lyrics for Sunday, something I like to do so that I’m not thrown off by words like “ebenezer” or “bulwark” or “thee”. I also study the lyrics because I want to know deeply what it is that we’re singing.Hymn writers were geniuses. We have no idea what it’s like to build anything to last anymore; things are so disposable in our society. Our clothes. Our cars. Our homes. Our electronics. Definitely our electronics. You can get a DVD player with a tank of gas in some places, but it won’t matter because in 6 months it won’t work. This is because either the technology has moved on or the thing burned itself to the ground. Or both.I don’t think hymn writers ever thought “It won’t matter”. They wrote for the sake of teaching theology to the people of their day — and to future generations. And here we are, singing a song that’s older than the old organ in the old sanctuary. I don’t know if my kids will sing this song, but I would bet cash money they won’t be singing “Draw Me Close”. There’s a great song with great lyrics, but it doesn’t have the staying power to make it 15 years, let alone 100 or so.  What songs are we singing/writing now that will have the same kind of resilience to time that our hymns have? Maybe I’m wrong about “Draw Me Close”. I don’t know. I’m just blogging out loud.  ————-

*or song leader to some

Bible Reading Plans

It’s still the season of new years resolutions.  Most people aim to lose weight and/or stop eating delicious bacon burgers (have you seen this?)

If you’ve decided to set out and commit to some kind of bible reading schedule, you’re not alone. Just about every year I try something new, from daily reading Oswald Chambers & studying the scripture verse he references to checklists and even some of that “new” lectio divina. But this year, I’ve found the most helpful plan over at It’s free, it’s streamlined, and it’s bible-tastic. It takes schedules — any kind you want from chronological to OT only to everything in between — and e-mails them to you. That’s the key for me: I see my bible reading plan in my e-mail every day at 5am. You can either read your own or click on their link to go over to to read on screen.

So far, so good. I’m not terribly structured, but I am very oriented toward e-mail. This is what I’ve always needed!

How Infomercials are like Star-Trek

Here’s my ba-doom-ching submission for today.
As I was sitting in the studios of, flipping through the stations on the only TV equipped with cable, I came across an infomercial for the Space Bag on channel 61 and a rerun of the classic Star Trek on 62.  I couldn’t help but identify the similarities between the shows:

  •  Cardboard Sets 
  • Wooden acting with over-response to stimulus 
  • Seems too good to be true (George Foreman grill excluded)
  • On at roughly the same time (between the cherished 2AM-6AM window)
  • Both contain copious amounts of Shatner
  • You don’t want to admit to anyone that you actually stopped to watch it
  • Scientist-like characters with shady credentials speaking lingo that “we just wouldn’t understand”
  • Seems unbelievable, at least for the first 20 minutes.  Then you’re really thinking about what it would be like to have your own Transporter/Ginsu Knife

Am I missing any? 

It’s so cold…

  • You grab an ice pack on the way out to keep your hands warm
  • Thinsulate stock is slated to rise over 9,000 percent.  That’s nearly 5,000 percent celsius.
  • You need to ditch the iPod ear buds for the much warmer 70’s earphones
  • To make that lunch appointment across town, you need to start your car before dawn
  • You actually feel compelled to hug your furnace
  • You don’t even have to think about it when a friend “Triple-dog-dares” you to stick your tongue to a flagpole
  • It’s actually fun to breathe through your nose
  • Your thermometer reads “let me in”

There’s my slapstick material submission for the day.  Ba-doom-ching.  The 5 degree weather was an inspiration. Vote for your favorite, if you dare.

The Worship Class

Tonight Brian Walrath and I are team-teaching a class about Worship here at SAFMC.  It’s an exciting time because we’re examining something that runs deep yet feels familiar.  Amazing how we can do something every week yet know very little about what’s really going on.  The more I read/think about Worship, the less I know.  Why do we do this?  What’s “church” for, anyway?  Like, I know the right answers, but only because that’s what I’ve always heard.What really drives people to go to a big building every week?  You could ask the same question about Wal-Mart, but the answer is quite obvious: groceries & Nascar stuff.  We have neither in our weekly worship gatherings.  I know, I know.  Where 2 or more are gathered… they devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching… He inhabits the praises of His people… enter boldly.  But I feel like I’m on a journey to a better understanding of what this really means and why people do this (though less now than 50 years ago — church attendance has plummeted).Why? There must be a deeper reason than just “well, that’s just what we do on Sunday” or “Mama would be proud” or “That way I know I’ll go to heaven”.  I want to ask the question as to why we go to church but to get past the Churchy answer paragraph.  This makes very little sense to the guy who happens to be typing it.  Just wondering out loud.  After all, that’s what blogs are for.  For good times,for bad times, I’ll be by your side forevermore That’s what friends… no… blogs… are for. 

“Honest Ed’s” Dealership

Buying a car is frightening. But not like a roller-coaster, which is also fun; nor like Judge Judy, where you’re scared so much that someone else has to remind you it’s only TV. Buying a car. The act of using money you don’t have to buy a vehicle you barely know is almost paralyzing. Especially when it comes to the part of the deal where you sign here, initial there, thumb-print here and leave specimen there. It’s horrifying.

But it’s absolutely necessary, at least until Spring Arbor gets mass transit*.

We ended up getting a Ford Expedition. Sure, it guzzles like an Uncle I once had, but it does the job. The job, by the way, was to haul our family from here to anywhere with no trouble. 4-wheel drive should cover that. Plus, I had to be able to fit inside without it looking like a joke. Check.

Check mate.

So now Emily drives the nice truck. I get the somewhat nice Jeep, though it feels much smaller now that she’s driving a zip code. It’s a nice ride and we’re glad to be able to get such a thing. Now to go sell some organs I don’t need… **


*My vote would be for the Monorail that runs from Evelyn Bay to Concord (and stops in between)

**You know, like musical instruments. And a kidney.

Getting a “New” car

It’s time for us to get a “new” car.  “New” is in “Quotes” because we’re actually getting a “slightly used” or “not new” car.  “Very used” may be another option. The big question we’re dealing with right now is how to haul the two of us and two car seats around but not get a mini van.  I don’t fit in mini vans, at least not for more than 10 or 15 minutes.  I end up seeing 1/2 road and 1/2 ceiling of van, as they’re not built for average height (6’5″) individuals like me.This puts us on the market for one of those earth-hating, gas-guzzling right-wing SUV’s. The choices are between a GMC Suburban and a Ford Expedition.  I have paid for CARFAX and they both look good.  One has more miles but the other is heavier-duty and better built.  So we’re debating as we go, doing our own Consumer Report*, if you will.  By tomorrow, this whole thing will be over and our garage will be full of 2 running vehicles.  I can’t wait, either.  

I wrote something and I get a prize

I don’t know what the prize will be, but I was promised a “Detroit Free Press” gift pack.  Cool.  On a whim I submitted a “caption this” for a picture they ran last week.   So now I get some DFP stuff.  I hope it’s an old printing press.  The story is (or once was)  here. And speaking of news, what’s wrong with this picture?picture-1.pngIt’s Michigan. It’s January. It’s going to be 61 tomorrow?  Where’s that hawaiian shirt?

Finally… the iPhone

Ever since Steve Jobs did the big reveal, I’ve always wanted an iPhone. I was hooked on the first day (they had me at “hello”) because of its extreme functionality, combination of all things e*, and that happy logo that’s been around since Oregon Trail was introduced to the first grade class at Douglas Elementary School. That’s right: I’m a grown-up Apple kid.

Two things needed to happen before I could  touchscreen for directions to the nearest Mongolian Barbecue** or watch a skateboarding dog on YouTube:

  1. The price needed to drop
  2. I needed enough money to pay for it

Pretty common dilemma that affects literally hundreds of Americans, since most of us would be heavily tempted to just buy the sucker and pay for it later (and often) via credit. That could’ve been me. I needed to wait until the new calendar year, for reasons that can only be explained by my accountant, and in ways that are hopefully understood by the IRS.

So here we are — I made it past January 2 all the way to the fourth. It’s home, sitting in it’s dock and humming along on the AT&T network. So far, so good. And the sure sign of its coolness is that Emily spent a good 20 minutes iPhoning — the longest amount of time she has ever spent on a piece of electronic gear that I’ve brought home. Well… besides the iPod.


*”e” being the prefix for everything that could be electronified — e-mail, e-message, e-z chair, etc. It’s so late 90’s.
**Or Burger King